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SLAC Summer Show 2023: A Show by Utahns, For Utahns

SLAC is determined to do what SLAC does best, making plays that matter by passionate creators.
SLAC Summer Show 2023 (Courtesy of Salt Lake Acting Company)


On July 12, The Salt Lake Acting Company debuted their annual summer comedy show titled “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” Unlike other summer shows previously, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” is a series of vignettes about the necessity of public education. Specifically, programs like PBS, in a Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street coat of paint.

The show makes fun of everything Utah, from Post Malone’s Raising Cane’s to state-wide calls to ban books, it wonderfully mixes serious laughs with serious peril.

Many of the issues strike a particular cord with me, someone who’s become an adult in a tense time of political division, not just only for Utah, but the country as a whole. To get their further insight, I sat down with playwright Olivia Custodio and Director and Executive Art Director Cynthia Fleming.

Laughing Through the Tears

Custodio, a woman who’s worn many hats at SLAC, was the playwright for this year’s and last year’s summer show. She originally wanted to try a structurally different kind of show this year compared to last year’s linear, character-driven narrative.

“I was just driving in my car one day and I was like ‘Big Bird is funny,’” Custodio said.  This eventually led her down the path of wanting to display why PBS is as important: it’s a source of public education.

A lot of Custodio’s own personal fears about the world leak into the show joke after joke. This isn’t anything new to her. She’s no stranger to using comedy as a means to get her point across.

“I think comedy is a really powerful instigator for change,” she said. “When people are watching a comedy, sometimes they’re laughing before they even realize what they’re learning.”

Custodio wants her message to be heard not only by the people that agreed with her but also by the people who need to hear it most.

A Message Across Generations

The SLAC Summer Show was once called SLACabaret, a recent change was made to better reflect the show that they wanted to make.

“[The Summer Show] is kind of a big ‘thank you’ for joining us all season,” Fleming said. “Now let’s party and get to the incredible new work next season!”

Regardless of name changes, SLAC is consistent with its youthful culture of forward-thinking media, diversity and equity.

Unfortunately, like many businesses, COVID-19 has left a few scars on SLAC. In the introduction before the show, a SLAC employee said membership numbers still haven’t entirely recovered and it’s affected the company in many ways. Nevertheless, SLAC is determined to do what SLAC does best, making plays that matter by passionate creators.

To see get tickets for this year’s Summer Show or to see what’s new next season at the onion-domed theatre, visit their website.


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About the Contributor
Zach Anderson, Arts Writer
Zach Anderson is an Arts Writer for the Daily Utah Chronicle with a passion for gaming, movies, movie criticism and pop culture. He's written everything from articles to poetry to YouTube videos fanatically since he was 13 years old. A man of all things geek, he's usually catching up on his latest show/movie obsession or playing games on his PC. He is currently working towards an information systems undergraduate degree at the David Eccles School of Business.

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